Patt Morrison

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Patt's Hats: Raid your grandmother's closet!

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From brights the other day to mutes today. You could call this color palette "blush and sand," which sounds like the title of a romance novel with a Valentino lookalike on the cover!

This is exactly the kind of sweater I used to tease my grandmother about wearing, the elaborately beaded 1950s cardigans that you saw on everyone from Babe Paley to Lucille Ball to … your grandmother

Of course, now I wish I had more of them! The best are the silk-lined cashmere or merino wool ones made in what was, for more than 150 years, the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. The work of Hong Kong tailors is legendary, and now all the 1950s and early 1960s pieces are enjoying a tremendous vogue.

In this case the colors – bronze, blush and sand – are hushed, which lets the beading look more pronounced. The sleeveless top is a silk jersey criss-crossed with stitched bands of darker silk chiffon. King’s X? And then the skirt is bias-cut chiffon in very quiet hues. If designers gave quirky names to prints the way cosmetics makers do to lipstick and cheek color, we could call this one, "Shhh! This is a library!’"

So I’m glad that the shoes get paroled to holler. The nude patent color is ladylike, not loud, which is why I’m surprised but gratified that it’s hung around for a couple of seasons now. It’s a very versatile hue, even if it’s not making it as Pantone's color of the year.

No, the troublemaker part of this ensemble is the jeweled heels. Paul Simon sang of diamonds on the soles of one’s shoes; these are big dazzling rhinestones on the heels of mine. They gleam, they coruscate, they twinkle, they flash – amid all these well-behaved quiet colors, they send out a wink and a message that "I’m really a lively girl at heart, and at my feet."

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